The Mugali of Nepal
In appearance, the Mugali strongly resemble the Tibetans. They are tall and healthy, with a fair complexion and straight black hair. They speak their own language which is similar to Tibetan. Most of the Mugali men also speak Nepali, the official language of the country.
While most of the Nepali are farmers, the land is undeveloped and the country as a whole is poor. The Mugali, in particular, are barely able to survive.
Katmandu, Nepal's capital city, attracts visitors because of its many picturesque temples. Such temples are characteristic of Buddhist art and architecture. More and more, hikers and mountain climbers are using Katmandu as a major base for expeditions to Mount Everest.
What are their lives like?
The Mugali homes are quite unique. Because they settle in mountainous areas, they build their three-storied houses out of wood and stone. The flat roofs are made of wood, then covered with a mud mixture. Each story consists of a single room with no windows. There is a door on each floor and there are small holes in the walls for ventilation.
The ground floor, called the goth, is where the livestock are kept. The next level, or chhipra, contains their store of grain and salt. The upper floor, or koga, is used as a living room and kitchen. A notched ladder provides access between floors.
Mugali families are large. In the past, parents arranged marriages for their children at age 5 or 6. The ceremony would take place when the children grew to be 15 or 16 years old. Young people would have no choice about whom they would marry. Today, however, this practice seems to be in a transition stage.
Lhosar is the main festival of the Mugali, and it is celebrated twice a year. At the end of December, they celebrate the aunsi, or "dark moon." A second lhosar festival is held again at the end of February. These festivals are times of singing and dancing. While dancing, the married males wear white turbans, and the married females wear a particular type of golden ornament.
What are their beliefs?
Most of the Mugali village priests are also farmers, unlike the typical monks who serve in other Buddhist sects. They worship a god named "Chamdendae," which is a four-legged creature holding a flower and a prayer rosary.
What are their needs?
The Mugali are one of the most isolated people groups in the world, both geographically and spiritually. Currently, there are no known believers living among them.
With the absence of Christian literature, radio, and television; missionaries and Bibles, the Mugali have no chance to hear the wonderful news that Jesus Christ came to set them free. Who is willing to take the Gospel to them?
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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